We are apparently living in an ‘urban age’. And the countries of the former Soviet Union are no different. The vast post-communist landscape – encompassing Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe – may not be home to the world’s mega-cities, on the scale of Rio or Delhi. In fact, many shrunk during the tumultuous 1990s. But they are doubtless part of the global urbanisation phenomenon.
Post-socialist cities suffer from the stereotype that they lack ‘romance’, with many of the most charming parts hacked away by the Soviet leadership’s relentless modernising drive. But on closer inspection, they have plenty of compelling stories to tell.
As an urbanist and urban planner-in-waiting – who has spent her share of time wandering the streets of some of these cities – I will use this space to share both my thoughts and those of guest bloggers, on the good, the bad and the ugly of post-communist cities.
Moscow aside, this set of cities often goes under the radar of urbanists and researchers. Spanning a region that trespasses onto Asia, Europe and nudges up to the Middle East, global studies struggle even to categorise them.
Here is a space to tell some of their stories.
|| Featured photo © Chinara Majidova||